Penbryn

Wild tea

On a painted table

The colour of the sea. Geraniums,

Pink as lips

On the rocky sill.

Dandelion suns,

Marshall the sand path

Like lights on a runway,

And the stones are grey and flat.

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To Fishguard

Metal train tube with sooty teat.

The ticket, University

To Gloucester, stuck like a moon flag

Out the green seat.

I waited, baggage clutched

And volume low

But no Gloucester-bound traveller

Ever did show.

Bernard – Lois E. Linkens

My piece ‘Bernard’ on SD:

Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

Bernard

The basement of Harry’s
With damp in the walls,
Grey chairs, digestives
And no outward calls.

The biscuits were homely.
Rik’s mother had kept
A Stash for the British
Beneath the back step.

She had soft eyes. When
The bad news came,
A line like a needle
Appeared at each name.

Three days, playing
Silent strip poker; ‘Let’s die all hot.’
Lurid, she whispered
To deafen the rot.

And I bought a new Renault
With the winnings.
She mouthed, from the pavement:
‘New, red beginnings.’


Lois is a poet and student from England. She is studying the literature of the Romantics and hopes their values and innovations will filter through into her own work. She is working on longer projects at present, with a hope to publish poetry collections and novels in the years to come. She is a feminist, an nostalgic optimist, and a quiet voice in the shadows…

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Sheep – Lois E. Linkens

My latest piece on FVR, for March’s theme of ‘Redemption’

FREE VERSE REVOLUTION

A murm’ring herd gathers, like white beans. Stoic-bright-eyed sheep

Waiting, as they do, on the skyborn shepherd’s keep.

Dirtied coats. One’s lost a leg; there’s talk it were a fight and that.

One’s shiv’ring ‘neath a tatty hat

Weary from the morrow’s walk.

Sheep on the left is blue as day, pinks as daylight slips away.

Oft dusty rose or hot like Lycra’s leather, or shades of heather.

Their friend’s all sort of shade; afterstorm has struck at birth –

See, her image curving above the earth.

Toward the back – some boy

With poor wet coat, mud and sweat full cloy. Some have wool like wires

And few, unhappy few, have none at all

Curled like spring roses in a fragile, tissue ball.

These are the unwashed herd; the pebbles on the Bride’s pearlescent crown.

The sky fades, the grass dries and the whimp’ring cries

Are hid by trumpet…

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it’s all blue

black light

And I was away,
While you shone by the old red buildings
And years of wealth. I was away
Doing mine.

You spoke, you speak
Like you planned it; words like petals,
Soft and bright. I press them,
Between heavy books
And smell them on my bedside. You kept free,
When the walls drew in.

And I’ll keep free,
Choosing colour over sullenness
And silence. I know,
You liked his melting eyes

And his sharp face, and
How he made you feel, the shape of him

But in the black-light –
It’s all blue. A great field of it,
Loud and fluorescent and staining.

It’ll stop raining,
And the wet pavements
In the hot streetlamps
Will be gold.

The Candlemaker – Lois E. Linkens and Eric Syrdal

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Shifting, ragged cloth
A funerary shrouded sound
Her footfalls bring dust
Hard and grey
From the cemetery ridge

Cheeks, streaked in salt
A patchwork of wrinkles
Her breath in grieving gasp
Dry and thin
Smell of evening invades

Fingers, knuckle bone dregs
Sepulchral grime under nails
Tangle and cling to life
Tremble and shake
All for the want of an offering

 

Back home, the blood has pooled
And the sheets are soaked.
Raspberry leaf, fenugreek
Linger on his jacket furs.

His boots take him –
The priest with his sad, kind eyes
And black book
Await. A cold blue face, like dough.
Purple lips and running nose.
That was bottled Hope.

Better fetch it, to be sure. Fetch the Light.

And by its amber glow,
The last gold leaf of autumn,
Lift cold palms to the unknown morning.
Frankincense, to ease the needless scars,
Oily hands shine in the soft light.

 

To wander
Beyond the light of this world
That is his fate
Now
In lighting for him
This tiny beacon
She sets him on a path
She cannot follow

To guide his shade
Down the narrow path
Between worlds
Lined with broken shale
And scrub-lillies
And the whispered shadows
Of winged things
And many faced gods

Mayhaps her voice
Will pierce the veil
On the nights
Of All Hollow’s Eve
And his pale spirit
Will fix its eyes
Upon the mortal fabric
This light will be an anchor

 

These moonbeam threads
Are dull on the shelf. ‘Tis hours,
And blistered hands, and business
And yet ‘tis hardly work.

Lined up, soft white soldiers.

That flick’ring death (slow and hot and red)
Gives solace
In a quiet, empty place.

 

In the space of time
from wick to end
count the hours
until the dawn
and never shall it be
longer than the space
of a single heartbeat
for the one who stands
fist over heart
staring into
the frozen earth
that now holds a
beloved

Polonius – Lois E. Linkens

My most recent piece is up on Sudden Denouement this week:

Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

Polonius

This burnished arras, the fibre’s thick
Like short red grass. I know t’other face
With heavy gold and Denmark’s seal.
Those bleats of pain are crass
Behind so fine a pile.

A shadowy place, a maskéd face.

The fibre’s thick. I see a powd’ry moon,
I see a flying bird. A crouching beast,
A quiet man, fellows lost in the grasses
As they rise, blood ropes t’wards the skies.
I see them glint.


Lois is a poet and student from England. She is studying the literature of the Romantics and hopes their values and innovations will filter through into her own work. She is working on longer projects at present, with a hope to publish poetry collections and novels in the years to come. She is a feminist, an nostalgic optimist, and a quiet voice in the shadows of Joanne Baillie and Charlotte Smith. It is a pleasure to present…

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Votre Cœur – Lois E. Linkens

My latest piece on FVR for February’s theme of ‘Home’:

FREE VERSE REVOLUTION

My stupid heart

Liked the meals at half-past six; red wine, raspberry cordial, sparkling water.

The old paper birthday-bunting worked for Christmas

And the toasted sourdough held its scrambled eggs

Like a raft for royals – yellow as mustard, sprinkled with salt.

Salt and pepper shakers, smooth as eggs,

The old piano, the creaky step;

The dust behind the sink, congealed with plastic lids,

Nail clippings, toothbrush fibres, glitter. Half-burned tea-lights

On the edge of the bath

And peeling turquoise paint.

China plates, painted, hung like paintings. I took one down,

To clean the speckled walls – and it broke, clean. It’s in the study.

That bit of carpet that never stays sharp,

Even moments after hoovering, dark, sultry green like the forest floor.

The basket of spices, and the knob

Of root ginger in the fridge door like a gnarled toe,

Washing-up rotas, church next door.

Mum can’t sleep…

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Donna [Seven]

noah.jpg

Outside the house is a big rock,
Painted with hand prints.
‘It’s true,’ Ken says, tearfully. ‘Where’s the van?’
‘Outside my house,’ Rick admits. ‘There wasn’t anywhere to put the stuff.
I said I’d pay, if they’d leave it there overnight. I didn’t think… I didn’t think of this.’

Ken places his hand on Jackie’s photo.
‘She’d be ashamed of me, really. Gambling.’
It seemed
That the reconstruction changed Kiera’s mind,
About the whole place, and about Donna.

Ken watched in his wheelchair,
A Blanket around his knees, a pipe in his mouth.
He still wore his dog collar, under his scarf.
They made a plaque. The lake still froze over each year,
And Donna took her walk with her litter spike to clear the path.
They put the windows back,
New ones. The five thousand, with great blue fish. The ark, the walls
Of Jericho,
With golden trumpets.

‘We could use a little more profile,’
Mary said to Rick. ‘Perhaps,
A reporter. They could do a story. Local Village Church
Resurrected by Lottery Win.
The congregation would boom, I’m sure.’

 

Donna sits on the back row, in the quiet. There are muddy
Tracks down the aisle. The winter light
Is cool. They bought new cushion covers, all red. Blocks of congealed blood,
Or ruby,
Depending on her mood.

Donna [Six]

lottery tix.jpg

‘You take it, alright? I wouldn’t know what to do with it.’
Kiera showed the ticket to Rick. The van
Was parked outside. All the items were being packed,
The brown chairs and the green Bibles. ‘You just watch the television,
And if these numbers come up, you’ve won.’

‘I won’t have.’
The numbers didn’t come up. They sat on the sofa,
With cups of wine. That should have been it, really.
Finish the wine,
Make up the sofa bed for Rick,
Switch off the hall light. Take a shower,
Scratch the feet. But as the water came, just a little steam,
The phone rang. ‘It’s Ken,’ said Rick.